The shores and seas of Argyll are teaming with wildlife, making it one of the best wildlife locations in Scotland. Throughout the year, visitors to Argyll can regularly spot otters, red squirrels, seals, porpoise, sea eagles and puffins (to name a few), making it one of the top locations for wildlife photography in Scotland. Read on as we introduce you to our top 10 places to spot wildlife in Argyll.
Only a boat trip away from Oban, the island of Jura is known as one of the wildest places in Scotland, and has been designated as a Special Protection Area for golden eagles by the Scottish National Heritage. The shores of the island are frequented by porpoise and grey seals and it’s also common to see red deer and wild goats as you pass by boat. Our day trips to the Corryvreckan whirlpool are a great way to observe the wildlife of Scotland during short visits to Argyll.
If you’re looking to stay local during your visit to Loch Melfort, there are plenty of opportunities around Oban to see the wildlife in Argyll. Basking Shark Scotland is a tour group that allows guest the chance to swim, kayak or snorkel with seals, sharks and the native marine life. Oban is one of the best areas in the world for basking sharks and the tours coincide with the migrations of these creatures as they come to feed on the abundant plankton.
Machrihanish Seabird & Wildlife Observatory
Run by local warden Eddie Maguire, this perfect little remote observatory is open 7 days a week from March to October. Warden Eddie has his own photos to hand to talk visitors through the different species of birds and wildlife, making it a unique spot to observe the lesser spotted wildlife of Scotland.
Taynish National Nature Reserve
A hidden gem amongst the wildlife parks of Scotland, Taynish is a wonderful place to stroll amongst the peaceful oak woodlands and stop along the shore for a picnic. The marshland of the park is home to many a colourful dragon fly and it’s common to see a local otter building their holt or fishing down by the coastline.
This 7-mile, fresh water loch, is a great place for wildlife lovers. The loch is the habitat for one of Scotland’s rarest, protected freshwater fish – the Powan. This species dates back to the ice age, is only found here and Loch Lomond.
A popular location to spot wildlife in Argyll and Bute, given that Knapdale Forest was used as the trial site for Scotland’s beaver re-introduction. You can choose to follow the nature trails yourself, or the Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation offers regular guided walks. This organisation is unique in that is also offers bespoke walks tailored to your own wildlife interest.
Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve
This Argyll wildlife park near Crinan is the largest remaining stretch of peat bog in Europe. With a slightly eerie Celtic feel to it, it’s a generous home to dragonflies, curlews, hen harriers, and other moorland and wetland species. For the best photo opportunities, visit in Summer.
Argyll Forest Park
The first park to be created in the UK, the Argyll Forest Park is one of the most popular wildlife attractions in Scotland. Offering dramatic glens, roaring waterfalls and secret lochs, the park is one of the best places in Scotland to spot red squirrels. It even has its own squirrel viewing cameras so that you can get up close and personal with the rare species.
Ballachuan Hazel Wood
Hidden away on Seil Island, the wetland area of the wood is a haven for rare butterflies, including the Marsh Fritillary and Chequered Skipper. The lack of human intervention in the area, combined with the almost unique Atlantic coastal habitat, means that it’s a top tourist spot for those looking for wildlife. Head here to try and catch a glimpse of the elusive wild badger.
Dunoon’s mud flats are rich in shellfish, fish, snails and marine worms and, as a result, attract a lot of attention from hungry birds. Divers, waders, stalkers and dabblers are common sights. A paradise for the keen bird watcher!
The Firth of Lorn
The Firth of Lorn has an array of year-round residents, all relatively easy to spot from a number of tours leaving from Oban. Take one of these boat trips and look out for the White-Tailed Sea Eagle (the UK’s largest raptor), Golden Eagles and Buzzards.
Conveniently situated only 19 miles from Oban, Loch Melfort hotel is the perfect base for your Argyll Wildlife spotting vacation. Let us help you plan your perfect wildlife experience.